Templeton World Charity Foundation: The Science of Religious and Spiritual Exercises

Templeton World Charity Foundation supports a diverse group of researchers to discover new knowledge, develop new tools, and launch new innovations that make a lasting impact on human flourishing. The foundation supports projects that will form a robust pipeline of innovations aimed at improving key aspects of human flourishing. Their strategy is not just about making interesting discoveries but also about translating those discoveries into practices that can be rigorously tested and launched for the benefit of individuals and communities.

The Science of Religious and Spiritual Exercises aims to fill gaps in the Foundation’s current portfolio of projects that expand the evidence base of religious and spiritual exercises’ impact on flourishing-related outcomes. The foundation is particularly interested in proposals on the following:
Investigations of the impact of practices from indigenous religious traditions or
Eastern religious traditions
Under-researched forms of contemplative practices, including but not limited to contemplation on mortality (such as Maranasati meditation and memento mori) or meditation in or about nature
Different forms of prayer, such as those that involve sacred texts (e.g., Lectio divina), visual images and icons, or self-reflection (e.g., prayer of Examen)
Social spiritual exercises, such as group meditation
Movement-based spiritual exercises
The foundation seeks projects that aim to:
Empirically investigate and evaluate the causal impact of specific religious and spiritual exercises or practices on flourishing-related outcomes
Identify and test potential mechanisms that mediate practices to their outcomes, as well as moderators that might influence those outcomes
Provide research data and evidence that can inform innovations in spiritual exercises so that more people can benefit from their practice